One in 20 is too many.
May 16, 2007 12:30 PM   Subscribe

Nearly 700 cyclists are killed on U.S. roads every year, and more than 540,000 are sent to the emergency room. The annual Ride of Silence was started in 2003 to honor and raise awareness for those tragically killed and injured on the road, and has grown into a worldwide event, with more than 270 confirmed rides planned to start tonight, at 7 p.m. Ride along on YouTube or grab a black armband and join a group near you. [Previously on MeFi]
posted by dead_ (59 comments total)
Somehow this guy avoided becoming a statistic.
posted by danherwig at 12:34 PM on May 16, 2007

As did this guy.
posted by KokuRyu at 12:40 PM on May 16, 2007

Whoops, the previously link should point here.
posted by dead_ at 12:46 PM on May 16, 2007

Ghost Bikes.
posted by hermitosis at 12:47 PM on May 16, 2007

Nice military 1930 looking logo.

No rides in Europe. Maybe we have less deaths?
posted by jouke at 12:53 PM on May 16, 2007

It's going to suck when someone crashes during the Ride of Silence.
posted by smackfu at 12:57 PM on May 16, 2007 [2 favorites]

That's very sad and bad :( bad let's not forget the -average- 37000 dead / year by car accidents , that combined with pedestrian/cyclist/al reach +- 40000 deaths a year. 80000 counting europe. An interesting fact : the lowest number of fatalities per million habitants is in Germany , often blamed for not always placing a low maximum speed limit. In my experience, german drivers are very careful ...speed isn't the only factor, but it quickly becomes an importan factor for a careless driver.
posted by elpapacito at 12:57 PM on May 16, 2007

I am a cyclist that ended up in the emergency room, but it was my own damn fault. That sign came out of nowhere! Seriously!

I broke the fourth metacarpal in my left hand with a spiral fracture. Healed pretty quickly all things considered.
posted by motherfather at 1:00 PM on May 16, 2007

Or even better than my ghost bike link, previously on MeFi.

May is bicycle month! Having replaced last year's stolen bike and now riding to and from work every day, these issues have been on my mind a lot more. Thanks, dead_!
posted by hermitosis at 1:01 PM on May 16, 2007

Riding for fitness on bike paths and the like are great, but you take an unneccessary risk on the roads with cars. Seeing how too many drivers are, its a miracle there aren't more dead cyclists.

I know they're supposed to be equal under the law with cars, but its an absurd notion. You don't need to be a nobel prize winner to know who walks away when an asshole in an Escalade hits a schmuck on a Huffy.
posted by dr_dank at 1:05 PM on May 16, 2007

I often ride my bike to work. I don't think things like this do much to change drivers' behavior or alertness. Maybe they foster camaraderie among cyclists.
posted by everichon at 1:10 PM on May 16, 2007

A black arm band supports what?...Visibility for the cause? Oh The irony.
posted by Gungho at 1:10 PM on May 16, 2007 [1 favorite]

You're right dr_dank, however, many people choose not to own expensive, polluting vehicles and instead commute to work by bicycle. These riders are mandated, by law, to use the same roads as cars and not sidewalks. So, as it stands it is a necessary daily risk for millions of people worldwide, and events like the Ride of Silence aim to make it much less risky by raising awareness.
posted by dead_ at 1:11 PM on May 16, 2007

Lol for gungho - yep, a reflective arm band would be a little more appropriate.
posted by anthill at 1:14 PM on May 16, 2007

As a pedestrian in Boston and Cambridge for several years, I was always shocked to see that few cyclists did anything to make it less likely that drivers would hit them. Weaving in and out of traffic and running red lights -- often directly in front of cross traffic -- seemed to be the norm. That's not to say that the drivers were saints, but just about every close call I saw (thankfully I never witnessed an accident) was caused primarily by reckless cycling.

Like it or not, cars are big, heavy, and relatively hard to stop. It's mostly the cyclist's responsibility to protect himself by behaving in a predictable manner so that drivers can respond appropriately. When faced with bikes darting in and out and running lights, it seems a driver would be more likely to make a fatal mistake.
posted by uncleozzy at 1:15 PM on May 16, 2007

dr_dank, I think you hit upon the problem: the Escalade driver does not respect the cyclist as an equal user of the road as he or she should.

The physics argument holds true for the Escalade and a Prius or Mini, admittedly not to the same extreme. Should smaller cars have second class citizen status?

"Bike Trails" are nice in theory, but fraught with problems. As a route for transportation, they are limited as they don't go everywhere. Though they are colloquially called "bike paths," they are "multi-use paths," including walkers, runners, and moms and dads with their family cruising at 7 MPH. Often, they do not pay attention, stop in the middle of the path, or yap on their cell phone, thinking they are safe because they aren't on the road. To have fast recreational cyclists (moving at 15-20 MPH or more) in the middle of all that is a dangerous prospect.

The key thing is to Share the Road. Cyclists should act as and be treated as legitimate road users. They should stop at traffic signals* (a pet peeve of mine), but should also not be passed when it would not be safe.

*Yes, I know a few who roll through. I also know lots of drivers who speed.
posted by MrGuilt at 1:20 PM on May 16, 2007 [1 favorite]

The bike can be sprung from the shop this afternoon! I'll do a one-clyde ride of silence since there are none in the area. Then again, I have always thought that following all laws while not ceding unnecessarily to my caged brethren is the best way to raise awareness and evangelize for the cause.
posted by Fezboy! at 1:34 PM on May 16, 2007 [1 favorite]

I'm fortunate enough to have a multi-use trail that allows me to ride 90% of my ride of the streets right now. There used to be a time when I biked 12 miles both ways to work, but I'm a bit out of shape and me biking through the heart of downtown would probably cause traffic jams.

In my bike commuting, I've been lucky to have only one close call though.
posted by drezdn at 1:36 PM on May 16, 2007

dr_dank, I think you hit upon the problem: the Escalade driver does not respect the cyclist as an equal user of the road as he or she should.

Cuts both ways. Not saying cyclists are to blame for all those accidents, but cyclists not signalling lane changes? That's just asking for trouble. And it happens all the time. (Yes, there are just as many cars that do it, but fair or not, it's the cyclist that gets screwed in a car v. bike collision)
posted by juv3nal at 1:41 PM on May 16, 2007

Seriously, a nighttime bike ride (with black armbands) to promote cyclist safety?

Am I missing something?
posted by naoko at 1:43 PM on May 16, 2007 [1 favorite]

For a while, the local cops were ticketing bikers who sped through red lights. Seems to have stopped, though, which makes me kind of sad. (Though, on the other hand, recently the lights here have stopped recognizing bikes, which makes it a bit more of problem. Still, though . . . )

I'm surprised there isn't one here in Charlottesville, considering that it's bike commuting week. This is the kind of thing that would probably draw more attention to both bike safety and bike commuting, two things that the local alternative transit group is trying to promote right now.

Heads off to get free bike lights.
posted by thecaddy at 1:48 PM on May 16, 2007

I was hit while on a bike once. By a nun. I was farting around on my BMX bike in the parking lot of Mount Mary College. I was 10. True!
posted by everichon at 1:50 PM on May 16, 2007

Maybe an isolated incident, or maybe not.
I was walking across the street in Chicago the other day, at the stop light was a girl on her bike waiting for the light turn green. Behind her was a police patty-wagon. The officer in the truck was on the bullhorn, talking directly to the girl in a condenscending tone saying "you need to be on the sidewalk biker, on the sidewalk, NOT in the middle of the road. On the sidewalk...." Kept saying that over and over to her, she wasn't doing anything wrong. She very nicely turned around and informed him that riding on the sidewalk isn't legal.
posted by Sreiny at 1:53 PM on May 16, 2007 [1 favorite]

Riding for fitness on bike paths and the like are great, but you take an unneccessary risk on the roads with cars.
A risk? Yes. An unnecessary risk? Not for you to say.

With rare exception, bike paths are not designed to be ridden at the kinds of speeds that actually promote fitness, have intersections with regular roads that are just as prone to bike vs car accidents, etc. And motorists with attitudes like yours would not readily conscience the tax burden required to upgrade bike paths into viable facilities that are "separate but equal" to regular roads.

I know they're supposed to be equal under the law with cars, but its an absurd notion.

This sounds to me like "in a skirt that short, she was just begging to be raped!"
posted by adamrice at 1:59 PM on May 16, 2007 [1 favorite]

Pro: We have a great, wide bike lane running the length of our main street, a good 3 miles. Con: Local college and highschool yoofs often go the wrong way on same.

Oh yes, they get my glaring.
posted by everichon at 2:00 PM on May 16, 2007

Not trying to troll or derail, just a question: does anyone know how many deaths per year there are in the cycling community versus how many cyclists there are overall, and the same thing for automobiles? I'm curious as to which is statistically safer (since common sense doesn't always align with reality.)

Also: paddy wagon.
posted by davejay at 2:05 PM on May 16, 2007

Davejay: this page has stats comparisons with other transportation, though the data may be somewhat wonky, as they use it to argue for not wearing a helmet.
posted by drezdn at 2:14 PM on May 16, 2007

Also: paddy wagon.

Now I'm thinking about a Chicken Patty Wagon.
posted by Sreiny at 2:20 PM on May 16, 2007

davejay, I have looked for the numbers but nobody records cyclist numbers. It seems obvious that cycling is more dangerous than driving given the amount of driving and drivers and the constantly lowering risk of death in autos. They get constant safety improvements and cyclists get Styrofoam helmets and bike lanes that don't work for the intersections where cyclists tend to get hit.

Anecdotally, I rode a bike to work while working as an analyst at an insurance company. Everyone there thought I was insane. Crossing the entire city everyday I would see less than 10 cyclists. People are scared off the road.
posted by srboisvert at 2:21 PM on May 16, 2007

Pfft. Ride of Silence. Maybe if those cyclists weren't yapping all the time, they could focus on not getting hit by cars.
posted by Alt F4 at 2:21 PM on May 16, 2007

*looks wistfully Holland-ward*
posted by everichon at 2:24 PM on May 16, 2007

Yeah, everichon, sounds what like what you people really need are dedicated bike lanes and even, space permitting, totally separate bike roads.
And yes, that's prevalent in the Netherlands, Germany, Danmark, ...
Good luck convincing your local politicians.
Or come to Europe. :-)
posted by jouke at 2:32 PM on May 16, 2007

Shouldn't taxes on bikes pay for those expanded bike paths? I'm cool with that.

(I own neither a car nor a bike, so I have no dog in this fight).
posted by Bookhouse at 2:40 PM on May 16, 2007

In the countries I mentioned there's a communal wish to promote use of bikes. So it's not payed out of special taxes on bikes.
posted by jouke at 2:46 PM on May 16, 2007

Eh, many towns (mine included) do have some of the equation--bike lanes. But not enough cyclists know how to ride cluefully. Further, far too many motorists range from preoccupied to actively hostile. You really do need for there to be a community-wide sense of ownership about the bike thing, and we don't really have that yet, even in "progressive" towns like my own. I don't see it happening any time soon, either.
posted by everichon at 2:50 PM on May 16, 2007

It seems obvious that cycling is more dangerous than driving given the amount of driving and drivers and the constantly lowering risk of death in autos. They get constant safety improvements and cyclists get Styrofoam helmets and bike lanes that don't work for the intersections where cyclists tend to get hit.

Lots of reasons why this isn't "obvious"

Cars go a lot faster, easily taking the driver to speeds where their skill is inadequate. Going fast on a bicycle requires a lot of work and conditioning (or a big hill).

Cyclists, even the insane ones, know what kind of risks they are taking, while drivers seem to believe nothing bad can happen to them. Cyclists pay more attention to traffic than anyone else on the road. It's risk compensation.

Experienced cyclists choose roads that have the least amount of traffic and may go nowhere in particular. Most drivers will choose the faster, busier arterials and freeways, increasing their exposure to the minority of drivers who will cause an accident.

In short: yes, in car vs bicycle, the car always wins. But cars don't seem to have any trouble hitting each other.
posted by meowzilla at 2:51 PM on May 16, 2007 [1 favorite]

I will gleefully, gladly, and gratefully roll right on through a red light on my bike if the way is clear and safe. This has never resulted in any of my close calls, nor the time I was actually hit by a car (while I was in a crosswalk!).

The roads in NYC have been disproportionately build to favor cars, compared to the amount of pedestrian traffic, based on numerous studies that have been done to promote attempts to change this fact. Bikes and cars may share the roads, but they do not do so as equals, legally or otherwise, and I certainly don't see the sense in conducting myself on a bike as if I was in a car.

I'm a safe biker and a daily commuter, but I'm going into Midtown Manhattan every morning at rush hour, and if I didn't coast through reds and play timing games with signals, not only would I never get anywhere, I'd be toast.
posted by hermitosis at 3:27 PM on May 16, 2007

that combined with pedestrian/cyclist/al reach +- 40000 deaths a year

For what it's worth, at least 1/2 to 3/4 of those are completely unnecessary.

The same measures that make it safer to walk or bicycle also make the roads safer for motorists.

There are nice industrialized, first-world countries that have roadway death rates 1/4 of the U.S.

Just something to think about . . .

Another interesting fact is that the overall traffic death rates have been gradually creeping down in the U.S. over the past decades. But in past few years there is a countertrend--pedestrians, bicyclists, motorcyclist deaths are starting to creep up.

The result of our emphasis on technological approaches to traffic safety rather than behavior modification?

Interesting enough, countries with lower fatalities rates don't use fancy technology to get there. It's more like, good basic road design and enforcement of speed limits and other traffic laws.
posted by flug at 3:33 PM on May 16, 2007 [1 favorite]

I run the reds in NYC, thousands and thousands of them. As many as I can. I never get in the way of cars or people. never ever. 15k miles logged and the only accidents I've had have been me and the ground (pothole... ow) and me and some guy's door (double ow: dooring is not good.) knock knock.

Dear mr./ms. motorist who gets all pissy when I run red lights... three things:

1.) worry about your own problems, thanks. I'll be gone and out of your sight in a fast second and you'll not likely catch up to me.
2.) call back when you have not broken the speed limit regularly for a long period of time. For every 10 mph over 25 you go you are 2x as likely to kill a cyclist or ped if you hit them. I'll consider respecting your preference in my behavior when you stop mindlessly putting everyone around in a life and death situation. Your presumption to draw some line of equivalence between the need for you to obey the laws governing your manner of driving your 1-5,000 lb. death machine have about as much to do with my cycling as murder does to smoking a joint.
3.) I can typically sustain an average speed of 16mph in Manhattan traffic while commuting, which is a heck of a lot faster than you folks in cars... hey, come to think of it why are you driving here anyway? Maybe you should get a bike or use the subway. Driving fucks up the universe and you know it.

thank you.
posted by n9 at 3:53 PM on May 16, 2007 [1 favorite]

From the first link in the post:

About 540,000 bicyclists visit emergency rooms with injuries every year.

Bicyclist injuries in motor vehicle crashes: 45,000
posted by euphorb at 4:20 PM on May 16, 2007

People who deliberately disobey the rules of the road should lose their driving privileges. Perhaps they could take public transportation until they mend their ways.

I mean anyone; bicyclists or car drivers.

It's rude and literally antisocial to not follow the rules, and then bitch about how bad others are.

... and those cyclists who dress up like they're on the friggin' Tour de France? Don't get me started...
posted by jpburns at 5:30 PM on May 16, 2007

The "rules of the road" are a completely arbitrary set of various codes, both adhered to and enforced completely arbitrarily.

Bicyclists are, for various reasons, second-class citizens on the road. It is only more recently that advocacy groups like Transportation Alternatives have been able to affect laws and codes on a municipal level in New York City so that we are even considered when they are being drawn up.

Today I left my bike chained to a NO PARKING sign (on a block where there was no bike rack) and came out after work to find that the workers from the building next door had literally buried it out of sight with bags full of garbage and recycling. I had to dig through a chest-high mountain of trash to unlock my bike, while a stupid little man came out to yell at me about moving his garbage around. That's the kind of indignity that would never occur if I drove a car.

I am not going to unquestioningly follow the rules made for a car, on a street made for cars, nor am I going to follow rules for a bicycle on a street made for cars, if those rules are made by people who don't really care how these rules affect one's experience as a bicycle commuter.

Rules are not handed down by archangels, they are made by humans-- often humans who are tired, burned out, under pressure, ignorant, or for sale. I break lots of them, and I consider the risks I take (as well as appearing to be rude and antisocial) to be the cost of displaying even modest independence in a sea of bureaucracy and mediocrity. But don't worry, I try to stay out of everyone's way as much as possible.

On preview:

It's rude and literally antisocial to not follow the rules, and then bitch about how bad others are.

Oh wait, you're not a New Yorker, are you?
posted by hermitosis at 7:24 PM on May 16, 2007 [1 favorite]

jpburns: You wouldn't want to ride a road bike for two hours or more in cut-off jeans or something. Cycling shorts (and shoes that connect to the bike pedals are more efficient, as well as safer than ordinary shoes) are not designed with practicality in mind, not pretentiousness.
posted by raysmj at 7:30 PM on May 16, 2007

Put me with n9 & firmly against jpburns on the topic of cyclists jumping reds & otherwise ignoring rules irrelevant or dangerous to them.

I said it all in this thread & cannot be bothered repeating it, so let's just say that we're right & you're wrong.
posted by UbuRoivas at 7:33 PM on May 16, 2007

posted by dead_

posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:07 PM on May 16, 2007 has some very sound advice on how not to become a statistic.

Two categories of cyclists are especially prone to getting into accidents: timid riders and folks who only take their bike out of the garage for a spin a few times a year. Calling one of your bikey friends and asking them to cruise around town with you a few times will give you some experience and make you much safer. After all, you didn't go solo the first few times you drove a car, did you?

Even better, take a hands-on safety class!
posted by freshwater_pr0n at 8:38 PM on May 16, 2007 [1 favorite]

No way, if only 700 are killed, that 540,000 of them are sent to the ER.
posted by Twang at 8:59 PM on May 16, 2007

we're right & you're wrong.

That about sums up the attitude of most cyclists, in my experience — which cracks me up. On one hand, you've got the bicyclists who are absolutely furious and convinced that they're right; and on the other hand, you've got drivers, the vast majority of whom don't even realize there's an argument being waged. They don't even realize you exist.

And they don't have to, because they're driving cars. You'll bounce off. They'll keep driving.
posted by cribcage at 9:13 PM on May 16, 2007

cribcage, I think you're responding to something different to what I was saying. There is no argument between me & motorists (I am a motorist, too, by the way).

The argument is between me claiming the "right" to disobey certain road rules in certain circumstances because I am much much safer if I do so, and anal-retentives who spout the "rules are rules & you gotta obey them" line.

I am right because I put safety over blind obedience to rules that would endanger me. I do this *precisely* because drivers don't realise that I exist when I am on a bike, and I therefore like to keep as much distance between myself & them as humanly possible.
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:28 PM on May 16, 2007 [3 favorites]

**Pours out a 40 of Phil's Tenacious Oil for my dead homies**

Riding for fitness on bike paths and the like are great...

Not really so great. Between braking for/dodging the pedestrians and roller bladers taking up the width of the path, the other bikers going the wrong way and people letting their dogs run free, you're lucky to average any decent sort of pace around here. Not that it matters so much -- the typical speed limit on the local paths is 10 mph. For a fun ride that's fine but there's no way you're getting any decent fitness boost from it.

I feel much, much safer riding on the street (sanely, btw -- I hate obnoxious bikers too.) Paths are for people who don't feel comfortable doing that.

this page has stats comparisons with other transportation

Comparing fatalities on a per-million-vehicle-miles basis IMO is kind of bogus, but at least we could argue about that if the numbers were right. They aren't -- the MV fatalities figure should be per 100MM miles instead of per 1MM as he has it. Until that gets straightened out (I sent him an email pointing out the error and hopefully he'll reply or comment here) I don't know if it's useful to draw too many conclusions from that table.

and those cyclists who dress up like they're on the friggin' Tour de France? Don't get me started...

I like yelling "Le Maillot Jaune! Le Maillot Jaune!" whenever I see them on my bike. Probably not amusing to anybody but me.

You wouldn't want to ride a road bike for two hours or more in cut-off jeans or something.

Aw, c'mon, I don't think that's the point -- I wear padded lycra shorts when I ride too (usually under a pair of more utilitarian ones so as not too give away too many of my secrets,) and you're right, they're key. But really, if I can do ~5k miles/year not looking like a fricking gumball machine I don't know what use it serves the weekend warriors except to amuse me.
posted by Opposite George at 9:53 PM on May 16, 2007

Opposite George: Actually, I've heard this "Hey Lance" thing from bozos when I've just been wearing regular bike shorts and solid color cycling shirts, which is what you're going to find in your basic US bicycle shop. It's incredibly stupid.

And (not addressed to you, specifically) auto drivers do annoying things to motorcycle scooter riders too. If you get over a little to the right, say, the driver decides you're a bicycle and just to go on past you, never mind the big-ass mirrors on their SUV or van. (It's best to stay in the center, but sometimes this isn't possible, or you just don't hit dead center upon entering a lane for some reason--that's when the drivers try.)

I was about to pull out recently on a scooter, and stopped before realizing there was a car in the lane behind me. I never even made it into the street, but I could see the woman screaming. She pointed angrily at me, and I'm thinking, What the hell? Eventually, I picked up that she just wanted me to go ahead. But why so angry? I didn't do anything to her.

The only thing I can guess is that there's something about having to stop so many times and for so long in most modern-day American cities, I think, that drives people crazy, that turns us all into occasional assholes and some of us into situational sociopaths.
posted by raysmj at 10:53 PM on May 16, 2007

Actually, I've heard this "Hey Lance" thing from bozos when I've just been wearing regular bike shorts and solid color cycling shirts,

That's my usual get-up (maybe with regular shorts over the bike shorts) and I never hear it. I probably need to bike with more oomph.
posted by Opposite George at 11:01 PM on May 16, 2007

Well, it's a) having to stop so darned much, b) having no reasonable alternative to driving in many areas of the US, and c) general impatience, entitlement and effects of the immediate gratification/consumer culture (or the individualism noticed by admirers and critics of American culture since Day 1, just taken to extremes). And I say that knowing that I'm affected by the latter as anyone.
posted by raysmj at 11:05 PM on May 16, 2007

On the subject of bike paths and their safety-- the victim in Danherwig's post was riding on a standalone bike path, when an SUV driving parallel to him turned right on a perpendicular road and cut him off. This is a very real danger for bike paths, because drivers tend to ignore anything not on the road. Moreover, the solution is usually to put up a bunch of stop signs (on the bike path only, of course). You can imagine the compliance rate of a bicycle-specific stop sign at a suburban intersection where cars go flying through. For this reason many cyclists prefer the road (or bike lanes) to separate bike paths.
posted by alexei at 1:48 AM on May 17, 2007

I've been put into hospital by a car blowing through a stop sign while I cycled on a clear, straight road. Good times.

Discussing cycling safety anywhere with non-cyclists is damn near pointless. I've seen the discussion dozens of times and it is always pretty much as we've seen here. Putting it online adds to the fun. People are almost as brave behind the anonymity of their computers as they are when behind the wheel.
posted by markr at 2:16 AM on May 17, 2007 [3 favorites]

Well said Markr. And as an avid bicyclist, it's sad to hear other bikers openly flaunt the laws of the road. If we dont adhere to them, why should we expect motorists to do so? And the "you speed and run red lights so you stop breakin the law first" is a really sad and dangerous attitude. We will only make the roads safer by demonstrating proper behavior. Set an example.

I've been hit by cars, had things thrown at me, been forced off the road by a guy in his miata swerving close to me, etc. And while I admit that we all have to put up with other drivers/bikers in the road, the amount of venom spewed towards bicyclists is astounding to me. Truth is, me riding my bike takes more effort, contributes more positively to the environment, is far more dangerous overall, and takes up less space than my Escalade-driving peer. So why is he so angry? Because he's selfish and irrespnsible.

Follow the rules or get off the road. Your needs, biker or motorist, do not supercede anyone elses. This is why the laws are there in the first place.
posted by Dantien at 8:44 AM on May 17, 2007 [1 favorite]

We will only make the roads safer by demonstrating proper behavior.

No, remember? They don't even see us until it's too late. That's the problem.

In NYC, the laws of the road are really just a framework, lines to color in or outside of at. And even so, on my trip to work I travel through a residential neighborhood, an industrial zone, through rush-hour city traffic, and over two bridges. Each of these legs of my journey has its own road conditions and codes, its own things that will get you killed or piss people off, and its own luxuries. And yet the traffic laws that govern these areas are basically uniform.

If we dont adhere to them, why should we expect motorists to do so?

Because they can kill us in the blink of an eye, and because it's always correct to not kill or otherwise molest those around you who are incredibly vulnerable, even if it causes one to grumble that they have it coming.
posted by hermitosis at 9:59 AM on May 17, 2007

I hate to be all "what about all the children" on you, but the majority of cyclist fatalities are under 15, so all the ranting about lycra wearing daredevils running stop signs smacks of ignorance and willful prejudice.

I think we can all agree on a world where everyone, including children, cyclists, pedestrians and the mentally and physically disabled, can have freedom of mobility without the absurd and totally preventable statistic that 1 out of 81 of them will be dead before their time because of an automobile. I might even posit that drunkards, self-righteous environmentalists, unicyclists and diet coke drinkers deserve freedom of mobility and safety within the transit system, too. I might even posit that folks who work full time but who are still below the poverty line deserve freedom of mobility and safety within the transit system, too.

But, yeah, you are privileged enough to have full capacity of sight and ability and an extra $7000/year to burn on fuel, loans and maintenance.

That's great. But keep your mother fucking privileged attitude to your god damned self. Self-righteous cyclists, my ass. I'll stop being self-righteous when you stop being totally ignorant of anybody who doesn't, by choice or by circumstance, fit your middle-to-upper class yuppie consumerist model. Multi-modal transit works (for everyone). Single occupant vehicle commuting works for you and you alone for now and now alone. Single occupant vehicle transit is a threat to everyone's safety, environmental health, free time and freedom. Just because you think your car makes you free doesn't mean it works to increase society's freedom.

The things Metafilter members bitch about whenever a bicycle-related thread comes up are just incredibly out of perspective. If you can't see that reality, or if you think the current situation is acceptable, or you think that putting right "self-righteous cyclists" is somehow more important than working to make things better, then I'm not sure I even can communicate with you. Please, prove me wrong, but I'm totally lost as to what sensible arguments can do for you.
posted by Skwirl at 3:47 PM on May 17, 2007 [3 favorites]

that, skwirl, settled that. nice post.
posted by n9 at 8:33 PM on May 29, 2007

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